Error Spotting for Competitive Exams

The Staff Selection Commission Combined Graduate Level exam is one of the most popular government job exams in India. Lakhs of graduates appear for this exam every year to get recruited into various ministerial posts and services.

One of the key subjects tested in SSC CGL Tier-I exam is General English. More specifically, the English paper focuses heavily on testing candidates' proficiency in grammar and usage through multiple question formats like Error Spotting.

Error Spotting questions often end up being tricky and convoluted for most aspirants. However, with the right understanding and preparation strategy, it is possible to master this section and score high marks here.

Understanding Error Spotting

In Error Spotting questions, candidates are presented with a sentence that is divided into several parts. Among these parts, one segment contains a grammatical or usage error that needs to be identified.

The error could be related to incorrect usage of articles, subject-verb agreement, tenses, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, parallelism, modifiers, pronouns, prepositions, determiners, commonly confused words, etc.

The key is to thoroughly read and analyze each part of the sentence carefully to spot the error. Attempting these questions requires sharp observation skills along with strong knowledge of grammar rules and concepts.

Error Spotting Format Underlying Grammar Concept Tested
Incorrect article usage (a/an/the) Articles
Wrong subject-verb agreement Subject-verb concord
Incorrect tense or verb form Verbs and Tenses

As seen above, identifying the specific grammar rule or concept being tested in each error spotting question is key to answering it correctly.

The Error Spotting Syllabus

The official SSC CGL notification does not mention a defined syllabus for Error Spotting specifically. However, it is considered an important component under the broader English Grammar section.

To thoroughly prepare for Error Spotting, candidates must focus on these grammar topics:

1. Parts of Speech: Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections. Know their definitions and functions.

2. Subject-Verb Agreement: Rules for subject-verb concord - singular/plural agreement, compound subjects, etc.

3. Tenses and Verb Forms: Present, past, future tenses, simple vs continuous forms, active vs passive voice rules.

4. Articles and Determiners: Appropriate usage of definite (the) and indefinite (a, an) articles.

5. Sentence Structure and Punctuation: Types of sentences, parallelism, comma usage, other punctuation marks.

6. Confusing Words and Phrases: Homophones, homonyms, synonyms, idioms, prepositions.

A strong grasp of the above grammar concepts is essential to spot errors accurately and emerge victorious in this section.

Sharpening Your Skills

Besides studying grammar rules, certain tips will help you sharpen your Error Spotting skills:

- Practice with previous years' papers: Helps get familiar with the format and common error types.

- Analyze the explanations: Don't just mark answers, understand why options are correct/incorrect.

- Read high-quality material: Develop an intuitive feel for correct grammar through reading.

- Participate in forums: Join online communities to discuss doubts and learn from others.

- Train observation skills: Scan sentences closely and look for inconsistencies.

Being methodical and practicing error spotting regularly is the key to honing your skills.

Important Strategies

Additionally, keep these vital tips in mind when attempting error spotting in exams:

- Maintain speed and accuracy: With good practice, spot errors swiftly even during timed mock tests.

- Don't lose patience: If an error is elusive, move forward and revisit the question later.

- Be confident: Approach questions with a positive attitude. Believe in your preparation.

With robust grammar knowledge and these smart strategies, Error Spotting can become a scoring area for SSC CGL aspirants.


In summary, Error Spotting may seem challenging but is an important component in SSC CGL Tier-I exam preparation. Learn grammar rules, practice extensively, analyze your mistakes, read high-quality material, participate in discussions, and spot errors with a focused approach. Equipped with strong concepts and sharp observation skills, you can definitely excel in Error Spotting and gain an edge over competitors.


Q1: What are the key grammar topics to cover for Error Spotting?

A1: Important grammar topics to cover are - Parts of Speech, Subject-Verb Agreement, Tenses, Articles, Sentence Structure, Punctuation, Confusing Words/Phrases.

Q2: How should one approach an Error Spotting question?

A2: Read the sentence parts carefully, looking for inconsistencies. Analyze based on grammar rules. Don't rush but maintain speed. Revisit tough questions later with a fresh perspective.

Q3: Is there a specific syllabus prescribed for Error Spotting?

A3: There is no dedicated syllabus, but Error Spotting is considered an important component under the English Grammar section for SSC CGL Tier-I.

Q4: Which skills are most important for Error Spotting?

A4: Strong grammar knowledge, good comprehension skills, ability to identify inconsistencies, and strong observation skills are vital.

Q5: How should one's study plan accommodate Error Spotting?

A5: Solving previous papers, taking mock tests, analyzing your mistakes, reading high-quality books/articles, and participating in grammar discussions should be included.

Q6: Is Error Spotting a scoring area in SSC CGL?

A6: Yes, with thorough preparation Error Spotting can be an advantageous section. It accounts for good weightage from the English portion.